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Welcome to the 17th week of Waivers of the Future! If you won your championship, congratulations! Bask in the glory of it, for it is a truly special thing when you come out on top in a very competitive league.
If you were not so fortunate, fear not. This column is just for you! The writer will endeavor to use this last article of the year to give you stash candidates who may not have been relevant this year but have a greater chance of contributing to our teams in the future.
It cannot be stressed enough how important waiver wire management is, even in short-bench dynasty leagues. Years ago, this author won a staff dynasty league when he started C.J. Anderson and Damien Williams in place of an injured Todd Gurley and James Conner. You never know when these marginal guys could become very important!
Pickups are listed in order of preference. Bid amounts are going to be highly variable from league to league at the end of a year, so use your best judgment. If you feel strongly about a player, do not be afraid to spend the remainder of your waiver budget to get that guy on your squad for next year.
This list is shorter than in most years, simply because the fringe starters that are on waivers are likely to be replaced by a very talented incoming rookie quarterback class. There is little point in picking up and holding guys like Alex Smith, Jarett Stidham, or other quarterbacks on teams with high draft picks that will most certainly think about a quarterback with their pick. Instead, it is better for general managers to focus on picking up backups on teams where an injury or poor play of the starter could grant them an opportunity. Headlining the list is Jameis Winston. Winston wisely chose to rehabilitate his career by signing as a backup in New Orleans. While it is unclear if his opportunity will come in New Orleans or elsewhere, he is worth holding on to prospectively. Josh Rosen is another interesting rehabilitation case. He signed this year with Tampa Bay’s practice squad to work behind Tom Brady. Recently, however, the shorthanded 49ers reached out to Rosen about his interest in coming to work in Shanahan’s system. While Jimmy Garoppollo is signed through 2021, he has not always played the best or been the most durable. It is easy to see a scenario in which Josh Rosen gets a chance and fits well into a very productive system that is just one season removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Buffalo fans may not want to hear this, but despite some growth, Josh Allen is not the long-term answer for the Bills. His poor decision-making and recklessness with his body has yet to catch up to him, but as they say, the rent always comes due. Jake Fromm is not as physically gifted, but he is a more sound decision-maker and could keep a very efficiently run team on track should he be tasked with starting. Trace McSorley and P.J. Walker are unlikely to replace Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater respectively due to poor play, but injuries are certainly a possibility. Both quarterbacks have shown in limited work that they can operate the offenses that they both inhabit and do damage running the football. Those are both things we value in fantasy quarterbacks and make these two worthy of stashing in 40+ roster formats.
Like quarterback, running back is another position that is uncommonly thin across dynasty waiver wires. Running backs are truly expendable in NFL terms and there will be a good many moving pieces this offseason. Kenyan Drake, Todd Gurley, James White, Malcolm Brown, Jerrick McKinnon, James Conner, Jeff Wilson, Jamaal Williams, and Aaron Jones are just some of the names that will likely hit the market. That does not even account for the incoming rookie class that will take the place of some of the established starters. That being said, here are some backs to hold on to with the idea that they might be the starters on a new team or backups in good situations. While Myles Gaskin missed a portion of the season with injuries, when he was active he showed some elusiveness and pass-catching ability that could persuade Miami to make him a featured part of their rotation next year. Matt Waldman has compared Hasty to Ahmad Bradshaw and that seems like an apt comparison. It is also a good comparison in that the diminutive Bradshaw was often overlooked, but helped win fantasy titles for his general managers. Hasty has that opportunity with the backs ahead of him unable to stay healthy and his skillset is a good fit for the system. Denver and Royce Freeman fit together like peanut butter and guacamole. Freeman really does have more talent than Denver’s scheme afforded him the chance to show. There was talk of him being traded in the 2020 offseason and it is possible he will be moved to a better situation in 2021. Ito Smith will be the only back that is not moving in free agency, and the new regime in Atlanta could roll with him while they retool other parts of the team. As Matt Waldman pointed out in The Replacements, Eno Benjamin was valuable enough that the team did not dare risk sending him to the practice squad. If Kenyon Drake is allowed to leave in free agency, the talented Benjamin becomes much more intriguing behind Chase Edmonds.
- Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE
- Travis Fulgham, PHI
- Tyron Johnson, LAC
- Tyler Johnson, TB
- Collin Johnson, JAX
- JonVea Johnson, DAL
Donovan Peoples-Jones is stuck behind Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Rashard Higgins, but there is a budding talent with this young player. He will be merely an injury away from relevance. Travis Fulgham is stuck behind Alshon Jeffery for now, but flashed enough that we could see him get another chance to establish himself as the long-term starter. Jeffery has just one more year on his contract and is often hurt, so it would not be a huge surprise if the Eagles cut him. Tyron Johnson has appeal because Keenan Allen and Mike Williams seem to get banged up a lot and the quarterback situation has stabilized for the foreseeable future. Tyler Johnson has contested-catch ability that he showed off during stints of the season when receivers ahead of him were banged up. Antonio Brown could re-sign with the organization next year, but that is not a given. Jacksonville may not have much going for them, but they do seem to be able to identify receiver talent. It will be interesting to see if Collin Johnson, who has flashed this year, sticks as a new regime is incoming. It is worth holding him to find out, especially since the Jaguars will likely land a better quarterback in the draft. JonVea Johnson is buried on the Dallas depth chart, but there is always a chance a needy team will steal him away from the Cowboys and give him an increased role.
Waiver wire tight ends who could have value beyond this year might be the slimmest group of them all. Dan Arnold is rostered in all leagues in which the writer plays, but perhaps you play in a very casual dynasty league where it takes people a while to catch up to the realities of the NFL. Arnold has become one of Kyler Murray’s favorite red-zone targets and has scored four touchdowns on the year. Mo Alie-Cox broke out earlier in the year, but was then held back by injury and the returns of Jack Doyle and Trey Burton from injury. Both Burton and Alie-Cox will be headed out of Indianapolis next year. It makes sense for Indy to think about re-signing Alie-Cox. He could also sign a lucrative deal with another team next year, possibly opening the door for Alie-Cox to realize his full potential elsewhere. Foster Moreau is young and sits behind Darren Waller, who will turn 29 during the next season. Moreau is talented and should Waller get injured, he would slot into an offense that likes to utilize its tight end, especially in red-zone work.